Kentucky residents may have to obtain a boating license in KY, if they want to operate a boat or watercraft on state waterways. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) does not issue boating licenses, but encourages individuals to obtain a boat certificate that will serve them as proof while operating their vessels. A boat certification is mandatory for residents who are between 12 and 17 years of age.

Prior to operating a boat, individuals must satisfy certain boat license requirements that may vary based on their age and other criteria. For instance, the requirement for enrollment in a boaters safety course is not mandatory for boaters of all ages. However, completing a safety course may prove to be beneficial for boaters who plan to operate a water vessel. To discover how to get a boat safety certificate in Kentucky, continue reading the sections below.

Do you need a license to drive a boat in Kentucky?

Since the KDFWR does not issue and require a KY boating license for individuals who want to operate a watercraft, boaters are encouraged to complete a corresponding course and obtain a certificate of completion. The boat safety certificate in Kentucky may be used as proof of ability to operate boats and water vessels, instead of a license.

Therefore, choosing the best course provider is crucial when it comes to deciding where to get the needed boating education. This process is similar to taking driver’s ed courses in order to receive a standard driving license in Kentucky.

Kentucky Boat License Requirements

In order to obtain a boat certification in Kentucky, residents may have to satisfy certain eligibility criteria. For instance, individuals who want to operate a water vessel must be at least 12 years of age in order to operate a motorboat which has 10 horsepower or more. As part of the boat license requirements, future boaters may or may not have to complete a safety course in order to obtain a certificate for boating.

Individuals who are from 12 to 17 years of age must complete a boating course and obtain a Kentucky Safe Boating Certificate Card that they will have to carry with them when operating their boats. Moreover, they may also obtain a boat safety certificate after completing a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators NASBLA-approved course.

Note: Individuals who are younger than 12 years of age are required to wear a personal floatation device such as a lifejacket while the vessel is being operated.

Getting a Boat License in Kentucky

KY residents who satisfy the boating license age requirement for individuals between 12 and 17 years of age will obtain a boat certificate that they will use for operation of vessels on state waterways. Applicants who are older than 17 years of age are strongly encouraged, but not mandated, to obtain a boat certification by completing a safety course.

The boat safety certificate will enable KY residents, especially those from 12 to 17 years of age, to operate a boat or water vessel, since boating licenses are not being issued in the state.

Kentucky Boater Safety Courses

A Kentucky boaters safety course is available to residents who want to learn safe techniques for operating a motorboat or watercraft on open waterways within the state. Individuals who are from 12 to 17 years of age are required to enroll in and complete a boating school in order to get a certificate.

This certificate of completion will serve them as proof of their ability to legally operate a motorboat. A Kentucky Safe Boating Certificate Card or a certificate from a NASBLA-approved course provider is required for individuals within that age range.

KY residents may complete an online boating course, a classroom-instructed course, or a self-study option by studying from the Kentucky Boating Safety Manual. If individuals choose the online method, they will be able to enroll in a boater safety course online by choosing the most suitable class according to their needs.

The boating course in Kentucky requires individuals to take a certification exam at the end of the course. To pass the certification exam, future boaters must answer at least 80 percent of the questions correctly. For more information about the boating education courses, individuals may contact the KDFWR either by calling their contact phone number or by visiting their official webpage.

Renewing and Replacing a Kentucky Boating License

Boaters need to discover whether their boat cards have an expiration date and whether they will have to renew them when approaching the due date. However, when individuals lose a boat safety certificate, they will have to apply for a replacement of their boating cards and submit a payment of $5.

Kentucky Boat Registration Basics

Kentucky DMV boat registration documents are required for all mechanically powered vessels which are used in the state. Boaters cannot operate boats of watercraft without having them previously registered at the county clerk’s office.

When operating water vessels, KY residents must have their boat registration certificates on board with them. To apply for a watercraft registration, boaters need to get the registration paperwork at either a county office or at the principal county office. Boat registrations expire on April 30 of each year.

Note: Operators of boats and watercraft that are rented from a marina or boat livery must carry a lease agreement with them on board.

Kentucky Boating Rules and Regulations

Individuals must obey a set of Kentucky boating rules and regulations, if they want to legally operate a boat or watercraft on open waterways within the state. The boating laws have determined the age restrictions for residents who are between 12 and 17 years of age.

Boat card applicants who are within this age range need to complete a safety course and get a certificate in order to become boaters. Moreover, the KDFWR has determined other boating rules, such as getting registration documents prior to operating a watercraft, or obtaining the necessary equipment that must be present on a boat.

Kentucky Boating License Fees

Boaters are in most cases required to either pay for their boating license, or to submit payment for the certificate of enrollment to their course providers. In Kentucky, individuals who want to operate boats or vessels are not mandated to pay any fees. However, when requesting a duplicate boat card, residents may have to submit payment for a $5 replacement fee.

Last updated on Friday, March 6 2020.